What UK pet owners need to know about Brexit

What UK pet owners need to know about Brexit


Despite the large number of UK pet owners affected (approximately one in two British households own a pet, including around 8.5 million dogs) traveling with pets is not a top priority in Brexit negotiations and much of the discussion about Brexit related issues seem rather abstract: new customs arrangements, the form of future trade agreements, and judicial cooperation, to name just a few. Yet for every UK pet owner Brexit is much more concrete and has consequences on a very personal level. Examples of how Brexit would impact UK pet owners planning their next vacation in France or Spain include the fact that the current EU pet passports, which have made it easy for people who regularly travel abroad to take their cat, dog or ferret overseas, could become invalid in the event of no deal. The government warns pet owners that it could take up to four months to get the appropriate paperwork and blood tests from their vet.

Currently, traveling or moving with your pet is regulated mainly by EU laws and is quite straightforward. You need to have:

  1. your pet microchipped (proof of identity)
  2. a valid European pet passport, issued by an authorised vet and containing details of a valid anti-rabies vaccination.

Apart from these requirements, which are mainly for health and safety reasons, cats and dogs can currently travel or move freely within the EU. 

The government just launched a new information campaign to prepare the British public for leaving the EU on October 31. The Get Ready for Brexit campaign went live on September 8. Among the snippets of advice offered are:

  • Renew your passport earlier than planned
  • Buy a GB sticker for your car
  • Prepare to wait four months before you can take your pets on a holiday 

On that website, Pawshake found this pet-related page to be most helpful and we encourage all of you planning to travel to check (and re-check) it well in advance of your travel.

We know that it is impossible to predict with certainty every detail of a post-Brexit future. However, if Brexit happens, traveling with pets between the UK and the EU will probably be subject to additional health checks and border controls. One particular worry however that British Expat dogs’ living in an EU member state will have to go into quarantine every time the owner visits the family back home, appears unlikely.

All travel with pets will require more advance planning and to make sure your pet is able to travel from the UK through the EU after Brexit, you should contact an official vet at least four months before traveling to get the latest advice and update. If your pet does not have the proper certificates you will not be able to take with you. When making travel plans, keep in mind that in addition to any changes in UK law it will remain important to check the national rules of the country of destination before traveling with a pet.

One thing you do not have to worry about: whether for short or longer travels without your pet, Pawshake’s friendly, reliable, fully vetted pet sitters are always there to lovingly look after your pets while you roam the world or just spend a night on the town.